It’s the middle of the night. You’re sound asleep when suddenly the smoke alarms in your house go off. It’s dark. The house is filling with smoke. You have about two minutes to get out safely. Would you and your family know what you should do?
Make A Plan & Practice It
Every household should develop a fire escape plan and practice several times a year, at different times of the day. The Red Cross has a printable worksheet households can use to plan and practice home fire evacuations. The plan should include the following:
Gather everyone in your home and draw our your escape routes. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
All members of the household should know two ways to get out of every room. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.
Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas or homes on the second floor or above. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.
Pick a place outside for everyone to meet (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can easily find your home.
Practice your home fire drill until everyone in the household can do it in less than two minutes.
Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Once you're out, STAY OUT! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the dispatcher when you call. MCPD Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.